Heights & Bristol Beaches Continuing Issues (including COVID related)

Below is an email from the Heights/Maravista Neighborhood Police Liaison, Sergeant James Cummings, regarding complaints about unruly and illegal behavior on the Heights and Bristol beaches beginning with the July 4th weekend.

On July 18, 2020, FHMNA published an article on our website reviewing the Select Board’s beach/COVID situation.

Unfortunately, the problem persists with many people not adhering to State and Town COVID recommendations and/or requirements to social distance and to wear masks on beach parking lots and when using the facilities.

There also will be possible staff shortages due to at least eight Falmouth lifeguards who have tested positive for the coronavirus as of 7/29/20. See two relevant articles from Patch.com and the Falmouth Enterprise on 7/28/20: “Eight Falmouth Lifeguards Test Positive For Coronavirus“.

One way to receive news on a daily basis is to sign up with patch.com for Falmouth (or any other town of your choosing), or to sign up on the Town website “Notify Me” page to receive beach reports.

FHMNA’s liaison to the Beach Department and Committee is actively reporting to our Board of Directors, which is in communication with town officials.

N.B.: COVID restrictions fall under the jurisdiction of the Town Health Department. You can reach Health Agent Scott McGann by email at health@falmouthma.gov or by calling him at 508-495-7485.

Consumption of alcohol or other illegal behavior remains a police issue and complaints should be called in to 774-255-452. See their website for more information.

Other articles of interest:

7/31/20 Enterprise: “Officials Say Irresponsible Behavior Largely To Blame For Increasing COVID Cases”,

7/31/20: “Falmouth Among Dozens Of MA Towns Where Coronavirus Cases Grew“.

Note from Sgt. James Cummings on Sun, 7/19/20 (FHMNA bolding):

“I understand the situation at the Heights on July 4th was concerning on several fronts. The 4th of July gatherings appear to have been organized on social media; which would explain the large number of people present. Several Officers, including the Chief, were responded at the beach on day to deal with the situation. In addition to police, I understand that the Town Health Agent was also present. Any enforcement of public health mandates including social distancing fall under the Health Agent and are not enforced by police. If anyone has concerns regarding large groups and social distancing they must contact the Town Health Department.

“The Police Department will continue to monitor the beach for disorderly/disruptive groups or individuals. Once again we have experienced Seasonal Officers that will be patrolling the Heights and Bristol from 9am-5pm. The Officer assigned to that area for the majority of the week has reported that he has interacted with some individuals drinking on the beach, but generally they are understanding and cooperative. If residents do observe or encounter disruptive or disorderly groups they are encouraged to call the station at 774-255-4527. If residents do call to report an issue please have them be as specific as possible. Persons simply “drinking on the beach” will have a relatively low response priority as opposed to a group causing a disturbance.

“I have reviewed the call logs for reports of loud vehicles in the Heights, and while our search feature is not perfect I was unable to locate any complaints regarding loud vehicles. If a loud vehicle is observed or heard please encourage residents to call the station to report it. If residents can provide descriptions and common times of the noise issues; I may be able to have Officers patrol the area during those times.

“I have also noticed a few calls over the past couple of nights reporting loud music on the Heights Beach during later hours (midnight). Officers have responded and found the culprit to be boats anchored off the beach. We have made and will continue to make attempts to quell these disturbances, however, we do not have a marine unit so we will be making our attempts from dry land.

“As always if a resident has a time sensitive issue they are strongly encouraged to call the station to report it. Response times will vary greatly during the summer months based on numerous variables, but at the very least the incident is documented in our dispatch system. This enables me to track incidents and advise Officers of any trends or ongoing issues. If you or anyone else in the association has any questions or concerns (that are not time sensitive) please don’t hesitate to send me an email directly.”